25 May 2020 | Adventist Today has learned the General Conference (GC) asked the North American Division (NAD) to delay electing vice presidents and department directors until June/July 2021.

Sources close to the current conversations between the denominational entities said the GC wants their newly elected officers and directors to meet with NAD leadership and influence NAD elections prior to the 2021 NAD Year-End Meeting (NADYEM).

According to NAD sources, NAD officers feel the GC proposal is setting the scene for a “less than best situation.”

There will be many leadership changes at the NAD because of a number of retirements that were due to take effect this summer before the General Conference Session was postponed until May 20-25, 2021.

There is also talk of downsizing the NAD, given the turbulent economic times.

The open question is if the planned retirements will be come into effect this year (as with Dan Jackson) or if leaders will stay in their positions until the 2021 NADYEM meetings.

The NAD has confirmed that Daniel R. Jackson, president of the North American Division, is retiring July 1, 2020.

The postponement of the 2020 General Conference Session complicated the process for the election of the new NAD president in July 2020.

The NAD nominating committee will meet on July 6 to select a name to be presented and voted on by the NAD Executive Committee on July 7 and sent as a recommendation to the GC Executive Committee.

Both of these committees will be chaired by Ted N.C. Wilson, the General Conference president.

On July 9, the General Conference Executive Committee will meet virtually to receive the recommendation and elect the new NAD president.

Historically, all NAD presidents have been elected during a GC Session except the first one: Charles Bradford.

The normal process for electing division officers is for them to be elected at a GC Session via a nominating process and a final vote by the entire body of delegates from around the world. They are considered GC officers because the GC bylaws define a division as a unit of the GC, not a separate organization with its own constituency and bylaws.

The process is that each of the divisions have a “caucus” within the Nominating Committee made up of the Nominating Committee members from its territory. The NAD caucus nominates the president and other officers, and that nomination is taken to the entire Nominating Committee with the members from all of the world.

The Nominating Committee votes the recommendation from the Division caucus in almost every case. It has always done so in the case of NAD officers. Then the report of the whole Nominating Committee goes to the entire Session for the official vote to elect.

The one exception to this process for the NAD was how Bradford became the first NAD president in 1979. At that time the position of NAD president did not exist. Instead there was a GC Vice President for North America, while the other Divisions had presidents. Neal Wilson (Ted Wilson’s father) was in that VP position when he was elected GC president and in the following January of 1979, he convened a special meeting of the GC Executive Committee and proposed Bradford to replace him as the VP for North America.

After Bradford was elected to that VP role, he began (with Neal Wilson’s support) to push for making the NAD a full division like all the others. Some changes to the GC bylaws were voted at the 1980 GC Session and Bradford was voted as NAD President.

In 1985 the bylaws were re-written so the NAD was not mentioned as a different entity in any way; it was just listed as one of the divisions. During 1986 thru 1989, a whole new NAD staff was hired and many changes made in how things operated in the GC headquarters.

Al McClure, the president of the Southern Union Conference was elected NAD president at the 1990 GC Session, following the normal method described above. Bradford had announced his retirement nearly a year in advance, first just to the union presidents and his staff, and then to the NAD Year-End Meeting in the fall of 1989.

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